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Combined wildfire dataset for the United States and certain territories, 1870-2015


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Welty, J.L., Pilliod, D.S., and Arkle, R.S., 2017, Combined wildfire dataset for the United States and certain territories, 1870-2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The increase in wildfires, particularly in the western U.S., represents one of the greatest threats to multiple native ecosystems. Despite this threat, there is currently no central repository to store both past and current wildfire perimeter data. Currently, wildfire boundaries can only be found in disparate local or national datasets. These datasets are generally restricted to specific locations, fire sizes, or time periods. Our first objective was to create a comprehensive national wildfire perimeter dataset by combining all freely available wildfire datasets that we could download. We combined and dissolved individual wildfire polygons from multiple datasets if they were in the same year and overlapped each other or were within [...]


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The fire data were collected to create a more comprehensive overview of wildfires, particularly in the continental western U.S. although the data does extend to other parts of the U.S. Since this dataset mergers all wildfire boundaries for a single fire together it should be taken as the most generalized boundary of the fire. Islands and detailed borders may be removed by this generalization process. This dataset should not be used to identify exact, individual fire polygons but should be used to analyze fire boundaries at a landscape scale. The weather and climate data were summarized from monthly PRISM data ( for the purpose of analyzing the number and size of wildfires in relation to current and recent (1-3 years previous) weather events. There is no limitation on data use of the climate and weather data except those already specified within the PRISM data themselves.



  • Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC)
  • USGS Data Release Products



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DOI doi:10.5066/F75H7F5M

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